Dr Heather Shepherd

BA(Hons); RN; Dip HE; PhD
Research Fellow and ADAPT Program Manager, School of Psychology
Honorary Associate, School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School

Telephone +61 2 8627 0828

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Biographical details

A health communication researcher with qualifications in health and language studies, a clinical background in nursing and a doctorate in Psychological Medicine. Dr Shepherd was awarded her PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at Sydney University in 2008, thesis entitled "Involving patients in treatment decision-making: the views and attitudes of Australian cancer doctors to shared decision-making". In 2009 she won a full-time NHMRC Public Health Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her previous studies and nursing experience demonstrated the importance of communication in highly emotive situations for patients, their families and staff. These experiences underpin her commitment to developing and promoting health literacy in health care.

Research interests

Shared decision making

Health literacy

Health professional/patient communication

Patient engagment

Safety and quality in healthcare

Implementation into practice of resources to improve patient care and health professional experience.

Current research students

Project title Research student
Supporting shared decision-making for adults with lower literacy as part of a community-based adult education health literacy program Danielle MUSCAT

International links

United Kingdom

(Social Dimensions of Health Institute (SDHI), University of Dundee. Scotland, UK.) Collaboration with Professor Vikki Entwistle, Professor of Values in Health Care.

United States

(Center for Communication and Disparities Research -- University of Rochester Medical Center) Collaboration with Professor Ronald Epstein, Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology and Nursing Director,

Selected grants

2014

  • Development and evaluation of an Australian adult health literacy program for socially disadvantaged adults attending TAFE; McCaffery K, Smith S, Dhillon H, Hayen A, Shepherd H, Comings J, Luxford K, Nutbeam D, Wright C, Wedyan M; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).

2010

  • FUSION - Investigating the doctor-patient-family triad to gain an understanding of shared decision making; Juraskova I, Butow P, Tattersall M, Charles C, Lam W, McCaffery K, Shepherd H, Jansen J; Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making/Research Support.
  • Development and feasibility testing of a consumer questions program to increase consumer participation in decisions about their health; Shepherd H, Del Mar C, Barratt A, Trevena L, McGeechan K, Butow P, Bateson D, Del Mar C; Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making/Research Support.

2009

  • Evaluation of 2 FIMDM Programs in Australia; Barratt A, McCaffery K, Shepherd H; Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making/Research Support.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M. (2011). Discussion of Treatment Options in Supportive Oncology. In M. P. Davis, P. Feyer, P, Ortner and C. Zimmermann (Eds.), Supportive Oncology, (pp. 500-512). Philadelphia: Elsevier.

Journals

  • Muscat, D., Shepherd, H., Morony, S., Smith, S., Dhillon, H., Trevena, L., Hayen, A., Luxford, K., Nutbeam, D., McCaffery, K. (2016). Can adults with low literacy understand shared decision making questions? A qualitative investigation. Patient Education and Counseling, 99(11), 1796-1802. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Barratt, A., Jones, A., Bateson, D., Carey, K., Trevena, L., McGeechan, K., Del Mar, C., Butow, P., Epstein, R., Weisberg, E., et al (2016). Can consumers learn to ask three questions to improve shared decision making? A feasibility study of the ASK (AskShareKnow) Patient-Clinician Communication Model� intervention in a primary health-care setting. Health Expectations, 19(5), 1160-1168. [More Information]
  • McCaffery, K., Morony, S., Muscat, D., Smith, S., Shepherd, H., Dhillon, H., Hayen, A., Luxford, K., Meshreky, W., Comings, J., Nutbeam, D. (2016). Evaluation of an Australian health literacy training program for socially disadvantaged adults attending basic education classes: study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Naehrig, D., Koh, E., Vogiatzis, M., Yanagisawa, W., Kwong, C., Shepherd, H., Milross, C., Dhillon, H. (2016). Impact of cognitive function on communication in patients with primary or secondary brain tumours. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 126(2), 299-307. [More Information]
  • Muscat, D., Smith, S., Dhillon, H., Morony, S., Davis, E., Luxford, K., Shepherd, H., Hayen, A., Comings, J., Nutbeam, D., McCaffery, K. (2016). Incorporating health literacy in education for socially disadvantaged adults: an Australian feasibility study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 15(1), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Shaw, J., Shepherd, H., Durcinoska, I., Butow, P., Liauw, W., Goldstein, D., Young, J. (2016). It's all good on the surface: care coordination experiences of migrant cancer patients in Australia. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(6), 2403-2410. [More Information]
  • Cooper, E., De-loyde, K., Young, C., Shepherd, H., Wright, C. (2016). Pudendal nerve testing does not contribute to surgical decision making following anorectal testing in patients with faecal incontinence. International Journal of Colorectal Disease: clinical and molecular gastroenterology and surgery, 31(8), 1437-1442. [More Information]
  • MacDonald, F., Patterson, P., Costa, D., Shepherd, H. (2016). Validation of a Health Literacy Measure for Adolescents and Young Adults Diagnosed with Cancer. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, 5(1), 69-75. [More Information]
  • Ling, M., Young, C., Shepherd, H., Mak, C., Saw, R. (2016). Workplace Bullying in Surgery. World Journal of Surgery, 40(11), 2560-2566. [More Information]
  • Muscat, D., Morony, S., Shepherd, H., Smith, S., Dhillon, H., Trevena, L., Hayen, A., Luxford, K., Nutbeam, D., McCaffery, K. (2015). Development and field testing of a consumer shared decision-making training program for adults with low literacy. Patient Education and Counseling, 98(10), 1180-1188. [More Information]
  • De-loyde, K., Harrison, J., Durcinoska, I., Shepherd, H., Solomon, M., Young, J. (2015). Which information source is best? Concordance between patient report, clinician report and medical records of patient co-morbidity and adjuvant therapy health information. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 21(2), 339-346. [More Information]
  • Young, J., Masya, L., Solomon, M., Shepherd, H. (2014). Identifying indicators of Colorectal Cancer Care Co-ordination: A Delphi Study. Colorectal Disease, 16(1), 17-25. [More Information]
  • Warrier, S., Hwang, S., Koh, C., Shepherd, H., Mak, C., Carmalt, H., Solomon, M. (2014). Preservation or division of the intercostobrachial nerve in axillary dissection for breast cancer: Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials. The Breast, 23(4), 310-316. [More Information]
  • Laidsaar-Powell, R., Butow, P., Bu, S., Charles, C., Gafni, A., Lam, W., Jansen, J., McCaffery, K., Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Juraskova, I. (2013). Physician-patient-companion communication and decision-making: A systematic review of triadic medical consultations. Patient Education and Counseling, 91(1), 3-13. [More Information]
  • Feldman-Stewart, D., O'Brien, M., Clayman, M., Davidson, B., Jimbo, M., Labrecque, M., Martin, R., Shepherd, H. (2013). Providing information about options in patient decision aids. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 13(Suppl. 2), 1-9. [More Information]
  • McCaffery, K., Smith, S., Shepherd, H., Sze, M., Dhillon, H., Jansen, J., Juraskova, I., Butow, P., Trevena, L., Carey, K., Tattersall, M., Barratt, A. (2011). Shared decision making in Australia in 2011. German Journal for Evidence and Quality in Health Care (Zeitschrift fuer Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualitaet im Gesundheitswesen), 105(4), 234-239. [More Information]
  • Leighl, N., Shepherd, H., Butow, P., Clarke, S., McJannett, M., Beale, P., Wilcken, N., Moore, M., Chen, E., Goldstein, D., Horvath, L., Tattersall, M., et al (2011). Supporting Treatment Decision Making in Advanced Cancer: A Randomized Trial of a Decision Aid for Patients With Advanced Colorectal Cancer Considering Chemotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 29(15), 2077-2084. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Barratt, A., Trevena, L., McGeechan, K., Carey, K., Epstein, R., Butow, P., Del Mar, C., Entwistle, V., Tattersall, M. (2011). Three questions that patients can ask to improve the quality of information physicians give about treatment options: A cross-over trial. Patient Education and Counseling, 84(3), 379-385. [More Information]
  • Carroll, J., Albada, A., Farahani, M., Lithner, M., Neumann, M., Sandhu, H., Shepherd, H. (2010). Enhancing international collaboration among early career researchers. Patient Education and Counseling, 80(3), 417-420. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Butow, P., Tattersall, M. (2010). Factors which motivate cancer doctors to involve their patients in reaching treatment decisions. Patient Education and Counseling, , 1-7. [More Information]
  • Tattersall, M., Dear, R., Jansen, J., Shepherd, H., Devine, R., Horvath, L., Boyer, M. (2009). Second opinions in oncology: the experiences of patients attending the Sydney Cancer Centre. Medical Journal of Australia, 191(4), 209-212. [More Information]
  • Dimoska, A., Tattersall, M., Butow, P., Shepherd, H., Kinnersley, P. (2008). Can a "prompt list" empower cancer patients to ask relevant questions? Cancer, 113(2), 225-237. [More Information]
  • Chiew, K., Shepherd, H., Vardy, J., Tattersall, M., Butow, P., Leighl, N. (2008). Development and evaluation of a decision aid for patients considering first-line chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. Health Expectations, 11(1), 35-45. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2008). Involving patients in reaching treatment decisions, motivations, consequences and effects on decision responsibility. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 4(S2), A136.
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2008). Physician-Identified Factors Affecting Patient Participation in Reaching Treatment Decisions. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 26(10), 1724-1731. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Barratt, A., Tattersall, M., Trevena, L., Butow, P., Del Mar, C., McGeechan, K., Hazell, K. (2008). The use of Standardised Patients (SPs) to assess, audit and improve oncologists’ consultation skills. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 4(S2), A69.
  • McCaffery, K., Shepherd, H., Trevena, L., Juraskova, I., Barratt, A., Butow, P., Hazell, K., Tattersall, M. (2007). Shared decision-making in Australia. Zeitschrift fuer Aerztliche Fortbildung und Qualitaet Gesundheitswesen, 101(4), 205-211. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2007). The context influences doctors' support of shared decision making in cancer care. British Journal of Cancer, 97(1), 6-13. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2007). The context influences doctors' support of shared decision-making in cancer care. British Journal of Cancer, 97(1), 6-13. [More Information]
  • Leighl, N., Shepherd, H., Butow, P., Clarke, S., McJannett, M., Beale, P., Wilcken, N., Moore, M., Chen, E., Tattersall, M., Goldstein, D. (2007). When the goal is not cure: A randomized trial of a patient decision aid in advanced colorectal cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25(18S), 6509.
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2005). A survey of Australian oncologists’ views about shared decision making (SDM). Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 1(S1), 091.

2016

  • Muscat, D., Shepherd, H., Morony, S., Smith, S., Dhillon, H., Trevena, L., Hayen, A., Luxford, K., Nutbeam, D., McCaffery, K. (2016). Can adults with low literacy understand shared decision making questions? A qualitative investigation. Patient Education and Counseling, 99(11), 1796-1802. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Barratt, A., Jones, A., Bateson, D., Carey, K., Trevena, L., McGeechan, K., Del Mar, C., Butow, P., Epstein, R., Weisberg, E., et al (2016). Can consumers learn to ask three questions to improve shared decision making? A feasibility study of the ASK (AskShareKnow) Patient-Clinician Communication Model� intervention in a primary health-care setting. Health Expectations, 19(5), 1160-1168. [More Information]
  • McCaffery, K., Morony, S., Muscat, D., Smith, S., Shepherd, H., Dhillon, H., Hayen, A., Luxford, K., Meshreky, W., Comings, J., Nutbeam, D. (2016). Evaluation of an Australian health literacy training program for socially disadvantaged adults attending basic education classes: study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Naehrig, D., Koh, E., Vogiatzis, M., Yanagisawa, W., Kwong, C., Shepherd, H., Milross, C., Dhillon, H. (2016). Impact of cognitive function on communication in patients with primary or secondary brain tumours. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 126(2), 299-307. [More Information]
  • Muscat, D., Smith, S., Dhillon, H., Morony, S., Davis, E., Luxford, K., Shepherd, H., Hayen, A., Comings, J., Nutbeam, D., McCaffery, K. (2016). Incorporating health literacy in education for socially disadvantaged adults: an Australian feasibility study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 15(1), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Shaw, J., Shepherd, H., Durcinoska, I., Butow, P., Liauw, W., Goldstein, D., Young, J. (2016). It's all good on the surface: care coordination experiences of migrant cancer patients in Australia. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(6), 2403-2410. [More Information]
  • Cooper, E., De-loyde, K., Young, C., Shepherd, H., Wright, C. (2016). Pudendal nerve testing does not contribute to surgical decision making following anorectal testing in patients with faecal incontinence. International Journal of Colorectal Disease: clinical and molecular gastroenterology and surgery, 31(8), 1437-1442. [More Information]
  • MacDonald, F., Patterson, P., Costa, D., Shepherd, H. (2016). Validation of a Health Literacy Measure for Adolescents and Young Adults Diagnosed with Cancer. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, 5(1), 69-75. [More Information]
  • Ling, M., Young, C., Shepherd, H., Mak, C., Saw, R. (2016). Workplace Bullying in Surgery. World Journal of Surgery, 40(11), 2560-2566. [More Information]

2015

  • Muscat, D., Morony, S., Shepherd, H., Smith, S., Dhillon, H., Trevena, L., Hayen, A., Luxford, K., Nutbeam, D., McCaffery, K. (2015). Development and field testing of a consumer shared decision-making training program for adults with low literacy. Patient Education and Counseling, 98(10), 1180-1188. [More Information]
  • De-loyde, K., Harrison, J., Durcinoska, I., Shepherd, H., Solomon, M., Young, J. (2015). Which information source is best? Concordance between patient report, clinician report and medical records of patient co-morbidity and adjuvant therapy health information. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 21(2), 339-346. [More Information]

2014

  • Young, J., Masya, L., Solomon, M., Shepherd, H. (2014). Identifying indicators of Colorectal Cancer Care Co-ordination: A Delphi Study. Colorectal Disease, 16(1), 17-25. [More Information]
  • Warrier, S., Hwang, S., Koh, C., Shepherd, H., Mak, C., Carmalt, H., Solomon, M. (2014). Preservation or division of the intercostobrachial nerve in axillary dissection for breast cancer: Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials. The Breast, 23(4), 310-316. [More Information]

2013

  • Laidsaar-Powell, R., Butow, P., Bu, S., Charles, C., Gafni, A., Lam, W., Jansen, J., McCaffery, K., Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Juraskova, I. (2013). Physician-patient-companion communication and decision-making: A systematic review of triadic medical consultations. Patient Education and Counseling, 91(1), 3-13. [More Information]
  • Feldman-Stewart, D., O'Brien, M., Clayman, M., Davidson, B., Jimbo, M., Labrecque, M., Martin, R., Shepherd, H. (2013). Providing information about options in patient decision aids. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 13(Suppl. 2), 1-9. [More Information]

2011

  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M. (2011). Discussion of Treatment Options in Supportive Oncology. In M. P. Davis, P. Feyer, P, Ortner and C. Zimmermann (Eds.), Supportive Oncology, (pp. 500-512). Philadelphia: Elsevier.
  • McCaffery, K., Smith, S., Shepherd, H., Sze, M., Dhillon, H., Jansen, J., Juraskova, I., Butow, P., Trevena, L., Carey, K., Tattersall, M., Barratt, A. (2011). Shared decision making in Australia in 2011. German Journal for Evidence and Quality in Health Care (Zeitschrift fuer Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualitaet im Gesundheitswesen), 105(4), 234-239. [More Information]
  • Leighl, N., Shepherd, H., Butow, P., Clarke, S., McJannett, M., Beale, P., Wilcken, N., Moore, M., Chen, E., Goldstein, D., Horvath, L., Tattersall, M., et al (2011). Supporting Treatment Decision Making in Advanced Cancer: A Randomized Trial of a Decision Aid for Patients With Advanced Colorectal Cancer Considering Chemotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 29(15), 2077-2084. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Barratt, A., Trevena, L., McGeechan, K., Carey, K., Epstein, R., Butow, P., Del Mar, C., Entwistle, V., Tattersall, M. (2011). Three questions that patients can ask to improve the quality of information physicians give about treatment options: A cross-over trial. Patient Education and Counseling, 84(3), 379-385. [More Information]

2010

  • Carroll, J., Albada, A., Farahani, M., Lithner, M., Neumann, M., Sandhu, H., Shepherd, H. (2010). Enhancing international collaboration among early career researchers. Patient Education and Counseling, 80(3), 417-420. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Butow, P., Tattersall, M. (2010). Factors which motivate cancer doctors to involve their patients in reaching treatment decisions. Patient Education and Counseling, , 1-7. [More Information]

2009

  • Tattersall, M., Dear, R., Jansen, J., Shepherd, H., Devine, R., Horvath, L., Boyer, M. (2009). Second opinions in oncology: the experiences of patients attending the Sydney Cancer Centre. Medical Journal of Australia, 191(4), 209-212. [More Information]

2008

  • Dimoska, A., Tattersall, M., Butow, P., Shepherd, H., Kinnersley, P. (2008). Can a "prompt list" empower cancer patients to ask relevant questions? Cancer, 113(2), 225-237. [More Information]
  • Chiew, K., Shepherd, H., Vardy, J., Tattersall, M., Butow, P., Leighl, N. (2008). Development and evaluation of a decision aid for patients considering first-line chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. Health Expectations, 11(1), 35-45. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2008). Involving patients in reaching treatment decisions, motivations, consequences and effects on decision responsibility. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 4(S2), A136.
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2008). Physician-Identified Factors Affecting Patient Participation in Reaching Treatment Decisions. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 26(10), 1724-1731. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Barratt, A., Tattersall, M., Trevena, L., Butow, P., Del Mar, C., McGeechan, K., Hazell, K. (2008). The use of Standardised Patients (SPs) to assess, audit and improve oncologists’ consultation skills. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 4(S2), A69.

2007

  • McCaffery, K., Shepherd, H., Trevena, L., Juraskova, I., Barratt, A., Butow, P., Hazell, K., Tattersall, M. (2007). Shared decision-making in Australia. Zeitschrift fuer Aerztliche Fortbildung und Qualitaet Gesundheitswesen, 101(4), 205-211. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2007). The context influences doctors' support of shared decision making in cancer care. British Journal of Cancer, 97(1), 6-13. [More Information]
  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2007). The context influences doctors' support of shared decision-making in cancer care. British Journal of Cancer, 97(1), 6-13. [More Information]
  • Leighl, N., Shepherd, H., Butow, P., Clarke, S., McJannett, M., Beale, P., Wilcken, N., Moore, M., Chen, E., Tattersall, M., Goldstein, D. (2007). When the goal is not cure: A randomized trial of a patient decision aid in advanced colorectal cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25(18S), 6509.

2005

  • Shepherd, H., Tattersall, M., Butow, P. (2005). A survey of Australian oncologists’ views about shared decision making (SDM). Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 1(S1), 091.

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